Johann Eichmüller (*1862-†1908) > ECOBRA, Nürnberg.

In 1893 Johann Eichmüller founds a small workshop in the Wölkernstrasse [3] where he initially manufactures steel bladed ruling pens and spring bows. He was a supplier to several companies, but mainly to Friedrich Gysi (Aarau) and Georg Schoenner (Nuremberg) [2]. The production was geared primarily towards the American market. Initially Haff pattern instruments (dividers having a Haff or Riefler type swivel head) were made. Later flat pattern instruments were added to the production line. Rapid business growth meant moving the factory several times, finally settling at Brunhildstrasse 5-9 in 1920. 


In 1901, after a meeting with Philipp Rögner, a purchasing agent for Eugene Dietzgen of Chicago, Eichmüller starts to work exclusively for Dietzgen [2]. Of the many ranges of drawing instruments sold by Dietzgen, at least two with certainty Excello and Universal were manufactured by Eichmüller. It is probable that Prima-Exakt (sold by R. Reiss, Liebenwerda) and Klino (sold by Ahrend, Netherlands) both flat system drawing instruments ranges, were also manufactured by Eichmüller. In 1905 Eichmüller partnered with Philipp Rögner and the company is renamed Reisszeugfabrik Eichmüller & Co. [2].  


After Johann Eichmüller's death in 1908, Eugene Dietzgen (whom would move back to Wiesbaden Germany in 1912) took ownership of Eichmüller & Co., injected a capital of 91500 Marks, and registered the company as Reisszeugfabrik Eichmüller & Co. GmBH.[9]. From the beginning of WW1 to at least 1943 the company was headed by August Renzelberg. From 1914 to 1919 Eichmüller & Co. produced munitions for the German war effort [4].


In 1922 the company was incorporated under the name Bayerische Reisszeugfabrik A.G. In 1925 the factory employed 262 workers and between 50 to 60% of production was exported abroad [2]. During the 1920s the company began to use the ECOBRA trademark from the company's initials Eichmüller & Co. Bayerische Reisszeugfabrik A.G. The ECOBRA company is still active.

Above: Amtlicher Katalog, Internationale Ausstellung für Buchgewerbe und Graphik, Leipzig 1914, p.698. [Internet Archive]

Universal drawing set

Above: A 'Universal' drawing set dating from the early 1900s, made by  Eichmüller. There are no maker's markings anywhere on the case or on the instruments. Unknown what the initials V.S. on the case mean, (Vereinigte Staten?)


Below: Around 1907 Eichmüller introduces their flagship Excello range of drawing instruments. The Excello compasses and dividers feature a joint identical to the Richter joint with straightening device. Indeed the entire Excello range of drawing instruments was closely copied from Richter. Illustration from Dietzgen 1910 catalogue. 

fig. 1.                            fig. 2.                           fig. 3.

Above: fig.1. and 2. Dietzgen's 1907 catalogue [see below for link] showing the Universal range of drawing instruments, identical to the set on the left. In order not to infringe on Richter's patent, the dividers feature a Riefler style swivel head.  

Above: fig. 3. Dietzgen's 1910 catalogue. After Richter's patent expired in 1907, Universal dividers and compasses are shown with a Richter style joint.

Below: Dietzgen's 1921 and later catalogues show Universal dividers /compasses with a straightening device patented by Philipp Rögner, US patent 954885.  

Ecobra Präzisions-Taschenzirkel

Ecobra pocket dividers, 75mm in length. Above is a scanned page from the 1939 Gebr. Wichmann Hauptkatalog advertising several "Präzisions-Taschenzirkel". 


1. R. Endres / M. Fleischmann; Nürnbergs Weg in die Moderne, W. Tummels Buchdrukerei, Nürnberg 1996. There seems to be an ambiguity with regards to the initial founding street, here is stated Eichmüller's workshop founded in the Pillenreutherstrasse, but [3] records the Wölkernstrasse.


2. STARCK, Georg; Die Entwicklung der Deutschen Reißzeugindustrie, Universitätsverlag von Robert Noske in Borna-Leipzig, 1925. 


3. DR. AUGUST JEGEL; Die Wirtschaftliche Entwicklung von Nürnberg-Fürth, Stein und des Nürnberger Raumes seit 1806. Verlag Lorenz Spindler 1952 Nürnberg. Eichmüller's workshop founded in the Wölkernstrasse, although [1] says Pillenreutherstrasse.


4. Stadtarchiv Nürnberg. Online-Recherche Bestände. 


5. Vera Dietzgen Feldmann on Josef Dietzgen (1828-1888) and the Dietzgen Family; A Family Perspective on a German Socialist Philosopher, oral history project by Joshua Morris (History major at UC Santa Barbara) May 2008 advised by Prof. Harold Marcuse, page created December 20, 2011, last updated 2/26/12 


6. Amtlicher Katalog, Internationale Ausstellung für Buchgewerbe und Graphik, Leipzig 1914, p.698. Eichmüller factory's address given on page 658 is Kriemhildstrasse 20. [Internet Archive]  




8. Patents by Eichmueller for straightening devices DRP 186079 (1905), DRGM E.10907 (1906), DRGM E.13582 (1908), DRP 348705 (1920). See also straightening device by Philipp Rögner US patent 954885 (1910) used on Dietzgen's Universal range, and patents by August Renzelberg US patents 1425133A (1922) and 1842051 (1932). The Gem Union straightening device was patented in Germany patent DRGM 196677 (1903) [Der Mechaniker 1903, Internet Archive].


9. Der Mechaniker 1908; p.142 and p.154.

Eugene Dietzgen & Co. catalogues

  Year   Edition   Source   Drawing instrument brands
  1907   Eugene Dietzgen & Co 8th edition   Internet Archive   Richter, Gem Union, Premier, Universal, Reliance
  1910   Eugene Dietzgen & Co 9th edition   HathiTrust

  Richter, Gem Union, Excello, Premier, Superior,

  Federal, Universal, Reliance, Scholar

  1912   Eugene Dietzgen & Co 9th edition   HathiTrust

  Richter, Gem Union, Excello, Premier, Superior,

  Federal, Universal, Reliance

  1921   Eugene Dietzgen & Co 11th edition   HathiTrust

  Richter, Gem Union, Excello, Federal, Universal,

  Dependo, Apprentice

  1928   Eugene Dietzgen & Co 13th edition   Internet Archive

  Richter, Gem Union, Excello, Champion, Federal,

  Universal,  Reliance, Dependo, Scholar, Prep,


  1931   Eugene Dietzgen & Co 14th edition   Internet Archive

  Richter, Gem Union, Excello, Champion, Federal,

  Universal, Reliance, Dependo, Scholar, Prep,

  Constructo, Designo

  1960?   Eugene Dietzgen & Co 38A   Internet Archive